According to Sara Paston-Williams, Damson Cheese is one of the oldest traditional country dishes, always found piled up on the shelves of a country store cupboard.
I have tried a couple of recipes but prefer one that uses slightly less sugar. It still produces a sugar crust and will keep almost indefinitely! We love to eat it with cheese such as a mature cheddar or crumbly Lancashire, but it is also good added to enrich a venison casserole or gravy to accompany beef or game.
The damsons are cooked until soft, then pressed through a sieve. After adding sugar, the pulp is cooked again until thick and then stored in a cool place to mature.
September has been a busy month in the kitchen which has meant not enough time to write about what I have been making! I went fruit picking at the end of August, not sure whether the damsons would be ripe yet. They were – and I ended up picking quite a few. I love the dark purple skin with the dusky bloom – quite unlike other plums. They are quite tart raw, but when cooked with the other chutney ingredients, they produce a deep, concentrated flavour.
Since then, I have made three batches of Spiced Damson Chutney which is a firm family favourite – made with allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. The chutney goes well with cheese or cold meats and can also be used as a sauce for duck.